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Blues press on without injured Tarasenko

by Louie Korac

ST. LOUIS -- The St. Louis Blues' mantra has been when one player steps out, another steps in and fills the void.

That's the present situation facing the team after learning Sunday that forward Vladimir Tarasenko will miss six weeks after injuring his right hand Saturday against the Nashville Predators.

Tarasenko will have surgery Wednesday; he'll miss the rest of the regular season and a portion of the Stanley Cup Playoffs.

"We've got good depth. That's one thing that's going to help us, but it [stinks] losing a guy like him," Blues forward Jaden Schwartz said of Tarasenko. "He's been playing real well this year. He's always an offensive threat. We've done it before. Guys are going to have to step up and play more minutes. We haven't had a problem yet and we know we've got the guys who can do it.

"I was surprised. I knew he was hurting after the game but you don't know how serious it is until you hear the news. ...We'll miss him for sure."

The Blues recalled forward Dmitrij Jaskin from the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League and he is expected to play Monday against the Winnipeg Jets.

It will be a great opportunity for Jaskin as well as Magnus Paajarvi, who's nursing an upper-body injury, to step in and play a top-nine or possibly a top-six role in the lineup during Tarasenko's absence.

"Paajarvi is looking at this as a great opportunity to get in and do some damage," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "The positive part for Tarasenko, he's going to come back as fast as he can. And because it's a hand injury he's going to come back in amazing shape and he's going to be able to hit the ground running. He's going to be a guy that's going to hopefully be able to help us."

Tarasenko, 22, is sixth on the Blues with 43 points (21 goals, 22 assists).

Jaskin, 20, is third on the Wolves with 29 points in 42 games. He also has two points in nine NHL games. He scored his first NHL goal Dec. 28 against the Chicago Blackhawks.

Blues right wing T.J. Oshie is questionable for Monday because his fiancée, Lauren, is expected to deliver the couple's first child, a girl. Oshie said Sunday if all goes well he might "come down and strap on the boots."

The Blues are supportive of whatever decision is made.

"It's up to him. It's 100-percent up to him," Hitchcock said of Oshie. "Whatever [Oshie] wants to do we're fully supporting him. If he wants to play he can play, and if he wants to stay with his new family he's welcome to do that too."

The Jets, who defeated the Dallas Stars 7-2 at home Sunday, did not have a full morning skate Monday. Only backup goalie Michael Hutchinson and defenseman Paul Postma were on the ice.

The projected lineups for the teams:


Andrew Ladd - Bryan Little - Michael Frolik

Evander Kane - Eric O'Dell - Devin Setoguchi

Dustin Byfuglien - Olli Jokinen - Blake Wheeler

Matt Halischuk - Patrice Cormier - Anthony Peluso

Zach Bogosian - Tobias Enstrom

Mark Stuart - Jacob Trouba

Adam Pardy - Keaton Ellerby

Al Montoya

Michael Hutchinson

Scratched: Eric Tangradi, Paul Postma

Injured: Ondrej Pavelec (lower body), Mark Scheifele (knee), Jim Slater (lower body), Chris Thorburn (foot), James Wright (ankle), Grant Clitsome (back), John Albert (upper body)


Jaden Schwartz - David Backes - Alexander Steen

Patrik Berglund - Vladimir Sobotka - Dmitrij Jaskin

Brenden Morrow - Derek Roy - Steve Ott

Chris Porter - Maxim Lapierre - Ryan Reaves

Jay Bouwmeester - Alex Pietrangelo

Barret Jackman - Kevin Shattenkirk

Ian Cole - Roman Polak

Ryan Miller

Brian Elliott

Scratched: T.J. Oshie, Carlo Colaiacovo

Injured: Vladimir Tarasenko (hand), Magnus Paajarvi (upper body), Jordan Leopold (flu)

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